Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Good Writing Is About Telling The Truth "

                                       Digital Art by "Nick" at artflakes.com

This morning while sitting at the computer, I casually picked up my copy of Anne Lamott's, Bird By Bird. Leafing through the first chapter. I read, the first thing she tells her students is, "Good writing is about telling the truth." This statement sure resonated with me.

Then I came upon this. It made me laugh, but at the same time, I considered it to be a serious message, because I identified with the feelings reflected in this poem by Phillip Lopate. His poem very truthfully conveys that all too familiar script of the unhealthy inner critic, that artist's often confront, and have to overcome.

Anne Lamott states,  " You can be defeated and disoriented by all these feelings, I tell them, or you can see the paranoia, for instance, as wonderful material. You can use it as raw clay that you pull out of the river: surely one of your characters is riddled with it, and so giving that person this particular quality, you get to use it, shape it into something true and funny or frightening."

We who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting,
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
discontent and torture
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.
                                                       -  Phillip Lopate

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